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GOP presidential candidates gear up for New Hampshire debate

January 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Republican presidential rivals of frontrunner Mitt Romney are all but conceding defeat in next Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. They're looking past this weekend's debate doubleheader and focusing on South Carolina.

Jobs and the economy have been a centerpiece of the Republican presidential campaign. But none of them was applauding the president for the new numbers.

ABC News: 2012 GOP primary results in Iowa

Mitt Romney says America deserves better. His rivals focused on stopping what might become the unstoppable momentum of the former Massachusetts governor.

Mitt Romney campaigned both in South Carolina and New Hampshire Friday. A new poll shows Romney with comfortable leads in both states. He is still critical of the president.

Arizona Senator John McCain was no fan of Romney when they ran against each other four years ago. Now McCain is a supporter.

All the opponents hope to stop Romney's momentum at Saturday night's ABC News/Yahoo! News debate.

"I'm prepared to talk about a Massachusetts moderate who raised hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes," said candidate Newt Gingrich. "I'm going to talk about Romney's record of appointing liberal judges."

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum came from way behind in Iowa to almost tie Romney. He was down only eight points and predicts a similar result.

Texas Representative Ron Paul is still in the top tier of candidates after Iowa, and Friday he made his first trip New Hampshire. Paul finished third in Iowa and is hoping to carry that popularity into new hampshire.

Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman called himself a realist when asked if he has been left as the race's only centrist.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is staying in the race to participate in Saturday night's debate. His poor showing in Iowa was a setback to his campaign.

The candidates debate Saturday at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on ABC7. I will be in New Hampshire for the primary and will bring you the crucial primary events starting Sunday night at 11.

See full coverage of the 2012 presidential election on OTUS News, by ABC News